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What scenes would you consider "key" to the play?
Boris Didov
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Act I, Scene III
This is the scene where Macbeth and Banquo receive their prophecies from the witches, starting Macbeth’s ambitions towards being the king, Duncan.Macbeth’s prophecy: He will be Thane of Cawdor and future king.Banquo’s prophecy: "lesser than Macbeth, yet greater" - his children will be kings.
Act I, Scene V
This scene features Lady Macbeth, even more ambitious than Macbeth, who tells Macbeth he must kill the king..
Act I, Scene VII
Macbeth is mocked by Lady Macbeth for not being a 'man', and he is persuaded finally and decisively to kill Duncan.
Act II, Scene I
"is this a dagger which I see before me?" - this scene marks an important point in the deterioration of Macbeth's character.
Act II, Scene II
This scene is where Macbeth murders Duncan.
Act II, Scene III
Macduff, a Scottish lord, discovers the king’s dead body, and his fellow lords proclaim Macbeth king of Scotland.
Act III, Scene I
In this scene, Macbeth begins his plans for murdering his best friend Banquo and his son Fleance, as Macbeth thinks Banquo is the greatest threat to his reign.
Act III, Scene III
The scene where the murder takes place. Banquo gets successfully murdered but Fleance escapes.
Act III, Scene IV
The scene immediately after Banquo’s death features Banquo’s ghost who haunts Macbeth at a feast commemorating his rule. Only Macbeth sees it, however, and the others, including Lady Macbeth, think he’s gone mad.
Act IV, Scene I
This scene is where the witches give Macbeth some more prophecies, which seem to him to mean that he will be king until his natural death. The prophecies are as follows:
  1. Macbeth will have to beware the Thane of Fife, Macduff.
  2. Macbeth will not be killed by any man birthed by a woman.
  3. Macbeth will be king until Birnam Wood marches to Dunsinane Castle.

After that, Macbeth receives news that Macduff has left Scotland, and orders their entire family killed.
Act IV, Scene III
Macduff hears the news of his family's murder and together with Duncan’s son Malcolm go to invade Scotland and overthrow Macbeth, with the support of England.
Act V, Scene I
This is the infamous ‘Out, damned spot!” scene, as Lady Macbeth completely goes insane and sleepwalks throughout Dunsinane Castle.
Act V, Scene V
This scene starts with Lady Macbeth’s offscreen death, stunning Macbeth, who then performs the ‘Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow’ soliloquy. He is interrupted then by a messenger who tells Macbeth that Birnam Wood is moving towards the castle (fulfilling the third prophecy). In reality, it’s just Malcolm and Macduff’s army camouflaged inside Birnam Wood.
Act V, Scene VIII
The climax of the play. Macduff encounters Macbeth, and when Macbeth tells Macduff that no man of woman born can kill him, Macduff reveals he was pulled out prematurely (a.k.a C-section) from his mother’s womb, fulfilling the second prophecy. Macduff then kills Macbeth, fulfilling the first prophecy and crowns Malcolm king.

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